[WARNING: Major SPOILERS ahead for Game of Thrones "Beyond The Wall"]
With a reduced episode count in place for the currently airing seventh season of Game of Thrones, the show is bumping off characters at a particularly ruthless pace and last night's episode "Beyond The Wall" was no exception. After the previous offering saw a motley crew of brave warriors come together to embark on a Wight-capturing mission, it was fairly clear that not all of those involved would be making the return trip. And since the episode was accidentally leaked a number of days ahead of airing, some fans may have already known which of Game of Thrones very own Suicide Squad would be meeting their demise.
Thoros of Myr was the unlucky victim of this week's episode - along with a few Redshirts - after he eventually succumbed to a brutal bear bite combined with the freezing temperatures of the other side of the wall. Better known as the alcoholic priest who kept bringing his friend back to life, Thoros nobly battled on after receiving the grisly wound but after the group became surrounded by the army of the Night King, he slowly slipped into the cold clutches of death.
Speaking with EW, the actor behind Thoros - Englishman Paul Kaye - expressed satisfaction with both his death scene and his tenure on Game of Thrones in general. Kaye states:
“I got the news last summer sometime, I missed a couple calls from [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss], and that’s the kiss of death... It looked like they weren’t following Lady Stoneheart’s storyline in the show, so I prepared myself not to re-emerge. So it was great to get back and have this adventure. Just staying alive for six seasons is an achievement in itself on this show.”
Referring to his death scene specifically, Kaye says:
“It’s glorious, really. And I like the fact I get [cremated] with my own booze as well —there’s a message there somewhere... I used to like polar bears but not anymore!”
Although it may not have had the punch and bite of Lady Olenna's death earlier in the season, being cremated near friends after gradually losing consciousness is arguably as peaceful an exit as any character can expect on Game of Thrones. As Kaye states, however, there is certainly a sense of glory in Thoros' sacrifice and the scene in which he and Jorah discuss confusing drunkenness for bravery really drove home that despite being a priest with magical powers, Thoros was more or less an ordinary man placed in extraordinary circumstances.
Thoros may have been a popular figure on Game of Thrones but with the series rapidly moving towards its endgame, he had undoubtedly fulfilled his narrative purpose. Furthermore, the priest's ability to bring people back from the dead arguably made him too useful at this juncture. Benioff and Weiss need viewers to feel like any character can be killed off at any time but with Thoros still around, the likes of Jon Snow and Beric Dondarrion could be revived seemingly at will. Sadly, no longer.
Game of Thrones season seven concludes August 27th on HBO.